Victor Louis EPHREM


ephrem victor 1
AGE26 yo
DATE OF BIRTHFebruary 20, 1918


Parents from Lebanon


RANKStaff Sergeant
DATE of ENLISTEMENT25 november 1940 Jacksonville FLORIDA
COMPANYAnti-Tank Squad
REGIMENT119th Infantry Regiment
DIVISION30th Infantry Division
DATE OF DEATHAugust 11, 1944ephrem victor l tombe

Map Brittany American Cemetery

Purple HeartPhoto
American Campaign Medalamerican campaign medal
World War II Victory Medalvictory medal
Combat Infantry Badgecombat infantryman badge


us army div 30 div 30 1 119ri

Brothers became warriors

5 went to fight, 4 returned home

By Beau Halton Times-Union staff writer,

George Ephrem left Jacksonville to join his four brothers in the military in November 1942. That was the month the five Sullivan brothers of Waterloo, Iowa, were killed when a Japanese torpedo struck their cruiser in a battle at Guadalcanal in the South Pacific.

ephrem victor l

But the ominousness of his departure coinciding with the Sullivans' deaths never occurred to Ephrem or his family.

Like many other young men at that time, the Ephrem brothers simply wanted to serve. ''We read about the Sullivans and talked about it a lot, but there was never a question about any of us going to fight for our country,'' said Ephrem, 83, his immediate family's sole survivor. ''Our mother said many a time that it was our duty, that this country was good to us,'' said Ephrem, whose parents emigrated from Beirut, Lebanon, in the early 1900s.

''We couldn't sit around and mope or worry. It was our duty to help in any way we could.''   A 1944 photo of four of the five Ephrem brothers, Victor (from left), Henry, Thomas and George. Freddie was in the Philippines. - Special His story is the kind that families will remember today, Memorial Day, as they honor those whose died. As a Navy seaman, Ephrem served aboard destroyers in the South Atlantic and South Pacific. The retired post office employee now lives in Glynlea with his wife, Jean. They have a son and daughter, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. One Ephrem brother, Victor, was killed in action. The Army staff sergeant had landed on Omaha Beach with the 30th Infantry Division on June 10, 1944.

The following August, he was killed during operations with his anti-tank unit in France. He's buried there at the Brittany-American Cemetery in St. James. The other brothers returned to Jacksonville after their service and died within the past three decades. Thomas Ephrem was an Army Medical Corps private who served in the Mediterranean and Italy. Freddie Ephrem, also an Army private, served in the Pacific and the Philippines. Their brother, Henry, a Navy petty officer, served in the Pacific in the Marshall Islands and Iwo Jima. Ephrem said he and his family never sought recognition for their roles in World War II, but that ''in the last couple weeks, I've been talking with my nephew about it. . . .

It is unusual for a family to have five sons in the military during wartime.'' Military history organizations confirm that, even during the peak of U.S. wartime patriotism in World War II, five siblings serving at once was unusual. Today, it's almost unheard of. ''A society is willing to accept casualties as long as the lives of the children of the leadership are also on the line,'' said Charles Moskos, a military sociologist at Northwestern University. ''That was true in World War II; the leaders' children served. But almost never today.''

Immediately after World War II, ''virtually every adult male in the nation was a veteran,'' Moskos said. Today, about 30 percent of adult males are veterans, and the percentage is dropping, he said. ''It's not that people wanted their children to die for their country during the World War II era,'' Moskos said. ''But there was more of a feeling that it was worthwhile to die for your country.'' Today, parents' views about their children joining the armed forces usually differ, based on the parents' military experiences, said Gale Chisholm, a counselor with the Vet Center, a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs counseling center in Jacksonville. ''It's very individual to people,'' she said. ''Some parents are very proud, others have mixed feelings.'' After the Sullivan brothers' deaths, Congress proposed a ''Sullivan Act'' that would have prohibited family members from serving together, but a law was never passed. However, the service branches have adopted personnel policies giving extra consideration to family members who don't want to serve together. Also, policies give extra consideration to sole surviving sons or daughters who want to be transferred from

''hazardous duties'' overseas to the United States. One policy became effective in September 1990 in response to requests during the Persian Gulf war. The Operation Desert Shield Sole Survivor Policy said in part, ''Desert Shield soldiers who qualify as sole-surviving sons or daughters will be reassigned to locations not designated as imminent danger areas.'' But the policy stipulates that the sole survivor must be in a family in which another member was killed, missing in action or physically disabled from military service.

Joe and Helen Ephrem never sought exemptions for their sons, George Ephrem said. ''They knew things could be kind of tough, maybe that somebody wouldn't come back,'' Ephrem said. ''They had seen a lot of war in their days in the Middle East. But they felt more or less that we were all obligated [to serve] because this was our country. We were all born here, and we should help protect it in any way we can.'' The Ephrems were working-class people. The parents operated the Baghdad Restaurant, a Syrian-American restaurant at Broad and Forsyth streets. The brothers worked in the restaurant as teenagers. The restaurant closed in 1968. Moskos said the Ephrem family ''is absolutely worthy of tribute, especially in light of the fact they were such recent immigrants.'' But Ephrem said it never occurred to him or his family to seek recognition. ''We were never really, I'll put it bluntly, the bragging types,'' he said. ''We just did what we were supposed to do. It was a different time, I guess.''

INFORMATION SOURCESJF PELLOUAIS- Frédéric LAVERNHE - - - - -…/Guerre2-Mortain.htm - - - Carl DiMARIA
PROGRAMMERFrédéric & Renaud
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